|Review by dbhost||posted 04-11-2012 07:05 PM||7156 views||1 time favorited||19 comments|
For starters let me say, my 2 star rating is indicative of the fact that this machine is below average for what it is.
I picked my Central Machinery #35570 up second hand, but New In Box and unused in trade for a cleaned up curb find of a Delta 10” miter saw that I fitted with a takeoff blade from another long gone saw. So effectively this machine was free to me. So now that is’t in my shop, and I have it set up and running for a while, let’s get down to the review…
The Good: For starters it’s the least expensive mortiser on the market. Which means for many on a budget, you can afford this, or a drill press attachment, and this certainly works better than a drill press attachment.
It drills square holes.
The chilsels are plenty sharp right out of the box. Not that honing them would hurt, but unlike a lot of mortiser chisels, these worked with no issues and no added labor.
The machine is powerful enough to cleanly, and reasonably sweat free cut various sized mortises in even very hard woods like Hickory.
The Bad: The particle board table. In my environment with the high humidity, particle board / MDF ect refuses to stay flat. This is simply put not worth the effort. I merely kept it for a template.
The hold down / fence design. If you stock is somewhat narrow, say you are cutting 1/4” mortises into 3/4” stock, you WILL ram the chisel into the hold down. I added T track, and hold downs to clamp workpieces down, so far so good.
The gear reduction on this is so extreme, cycling the machine through full travel almost requires spinning the handle all the way around 360 degrees. Mind you, stock thickness comes into play here, and I have found no real functional problems in actual use.
The Ugly: While I have not experienced it, this machine has a reputation for breaking the gear on the lever that raises and lowers the head. I am not sure if I got lucky and got a good one, or if I just haven’t been hard enough on it yet. Out of curiosity I looked at the way it is assembled. From the looks of it, any reasonably mechanically competent person should have no trouble swapping in a replacement gear. The rumored bad gears seem to be lumped into reviews from a certain time frame (2008) so it might have been a bad run… Those that had the issue said the replacement gear seemed to be of a much better casting. I am thinking they had a run of these that they had substandard gears in them and it may not apply to all of them…
Some of these machines got hit with a seriously ugly shade or green paint like the demo model in my local store. Thankfully mine is black.
If you can get this machine on sale for say $169.99 and then toss the 20% or so off coupon on it, you would have a great machine for the price. But if you are going to spend the full $200.00 on it, just save some more and get the Shop Fox or Grizzly instead…
Overall I am very glad I have this instead of the Delta Mortising Attachment I used to have… Far less hassle, but still a very, very, very far cry from say a Powermatic…
-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com